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Poster: DJason Date: Dec 4, 2011 8:12pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: New category request (also, a feature request)

I recently got interested in Race films, primarily in Oscar Micheaux. These were films produced by and/or for black audiences. I find that there are a LOT of them here (as they were so low-budget, they were usually not even registered to begin with). However, to find them, I must use Google and know the title ahead of time that I want to find.

So, this is a formal request for a "Race Films" subcategory of Feature Films.

The feature request I have is probably unreasonable, but I'd like to make it anyhow. Lots of uploaders give, at best, minimal metadata by which one can find films (and music, for that matter). Is it possible to open up pages to user-tagging, at least? Letting any user edit anything is probably a recipe for disaster, but if we could add tags that would be at least somewhat helpful to those that follow us. I know it's likely unreasonable and requires a whole lot of re-coding, but I thought I'd ask.

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Poster: Beforeyourtime Date: Dec 5, 2011 7:22am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: New category request (also, a feature request)

My 2 cents thrown out for a worthwhile discussion. I do not see "race Films" as a distinct Film Genre. Nor do I think we should. We can understand a Comedy focused film as opposed to a Drama, or a Fil Noir. As well,we can understand the cross currents in many films, say a Musical/Comedy, a Mystery/Horror film. But is a film produced with a subtle focus towards appealling to a target audience a Genre? Is the cultural context of a black film so different from a mainstream film? Granted there was a focus by some production houses to be more culturaly revelant to the experience and the reality of life of a specific audience, and it is important to acknowledge the cultural and historic distinctions that can be experienced in these films. But when all is said and done, these films should be enjoyed on their own production merits. After all "race films" have much, much more in common with general release films, and at that, within the accepted Genres, then of marked distinct differences. There are comedies, there are dramas, there are crime who done its.

I concurr, There is special wealth, value, awareness and plain enjoyment in cultural experencies. To the extent that an appreciation and study of the historic and cultural context of these films may be of special interest to some,appropriate tagging accomdates the search for this special interest.

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Poster: picfixer Date: Dec 5, 2011 4:18am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: New category request (also, a feature request)

I'm not for a moment suggesting your motives are other than the best. Nevertheless I'm vaguely uncomfortable with the idea of a separate race films collection. Besides, which films would qualify? Which would not?

There were movies made on half a shoestring by all-black production staffs like "Son of Ingagi." There were films exclusively made for black audiences like "Sepia Cinderella," which were produced by white, poverty row studios. And what about major studio productions with all-black casts like "Green Pastures" and "Cabin in the Sky?" (I know they're not PD.) Then there were the white-produced blacksploitation films of the '70s? During the silent era, a few low-budget American films were made exclusively for Chinese audiences. Would they qualify?

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Poster: DJason Date: Dec 5, 2011 8:24am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: New category request (also, a feature request)

I should hope that requesting a spotlight be put on them would not be seen as racist! :)

Race films are not, per se, a separate genre, as the filmmakers so often aped Hollywood genres. They are, however, a distinct and separate thing. They were produced (and distributed) *very* independently, and existed in an almost alternate universe. (I won't draw a belabored comparison to the black experience of the time, because I don't think it's true, really.)

Further, I think it's a little unfair to lump them in with other, more professionally produced films. They were shot on shoestring budgets by amateurs who had no professional guidance at all. (To be clear, I am not using "amateur" in any pejorative sense. I mean simply that these productions were consistently *so* low-budget that nobody had the time or opportunity to learn or develop their craft, and they didn't have anyone with experience to mentor them.) Putting an Oscar Micheaux film next to an Ernst Lubitsch one highlights the Micheaux's film's deficiencies starkly, while putting it in next to "Harlem Rides The Range" would more properly set the cultural context.

As for the few Hollywood productions with all-black casts, I don't have a strong opinion whether they should be included or not (leaving aside that all three that I'm aware of remain under copyright). They were certainly produced for the black market, but outside of the cast they were mostly white affairs, and produced by people who were not in any sense "independent" of the studio system. I could be convinced either way. But, as you point out, it's not an issue, since Cabin In The Sky, Green Pastures, and even King Vidor's Hallelujah are all still under copyright.

My request is simply due to this being a distinct phenomenon in American film. The Archive has many of the known extant films, but finding them is a bit of a chore, which I think is a pity.

Ideally, of course, categorizing something as a "race film" would not exclude it from appearing under other categories as well. But the Archive's handling of metadata is creaky, alas.

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Poster: Detective John Carter of Mars Date: Dec 5, 2011 3:24pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Race film list

@The Archive has many of the known extant films, but finding them is a bit of a chore, which I think is a pity.

so if you find some, bookmark them on the site, then people can check out
http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/DJason

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Poster: picfixer Date: Dec 5, 2011 2:55pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: New category request (also, a feature request)

To be absolutely clear I did not suggest, nor do I believe, that DJason has any racist motives.

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Poster: Beforeyourtime Date: Dec 5, 2011 4:11pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: New category request (also, a feature request)

To be perfectly clear I've reread every word, there is not a hint of racist anywhere to be found. Again FWIT a film is a film, no matter who made it and under what conditions. It stands on its own merits as a film. It may be filed under a Genre for classification but to do so based on the budget avaiable and the ethnicity of who made it is a real can of worms IMHO.

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Poster: DJason Date: Dec 6, 2011 1:05am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: New category request (also, a feature request)

I didn't take it as an accusation of racism at all -- I was laughing at the silliness of the very idea. :)

I'm long past university; anyone who seriously accuses me of racism because I'm white or sexism because I'm male doesn't get the dignity of a reply, except to be held up for ridicule and mockery, should the mood strike me.

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Poster: DJason Date: Dec 5, 2011 8:50am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: New category request (also, a feature request)

Also, the films produced for Chinese audiences would, I think, be a separate category.

Are any of them on the Archive? I'd *love* to see them!